Wine Reviews

Browse collection of wine reviews.


Experience Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Experience Cabernet offers, well, a tried-and-true Napa Valley Cabernet experience: lush black fruits, intense and mouth-filling texture, ample power and oak spice notes, and an overall feeling of lush luxury. That interesting thing is that Experience manages to do all of that without charging $50-$75 for it. This is one of those times when you don't have to worry that a wine with Napa Valley on the label is being offered for under $30 on the store shelf - if you enjoy Napa reds, you'll want to make this one part of your everyday drinking stash.

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Glen Carlou Grand Classique, Paarl, South Africa

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Almost no Cabernet Sauvignon-based red wine offers as much bang for the buck as South Africa's Grand Classique from producer Glen Carlou. After years of tasting several vintages of this true classic, I have learned to buy two bottles of every release: one for now, and one to hold on to for later enjoyment. Even after a decade of bottle aging, a well-cellared Grand Clasique will still offer an lovely, perfumed drinking experience full of spice notes and tangy red fruit flavors - what more could one ask from a wine that regularly can be found for under $20/bottle?

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Herdade do Rocim Alicante Bouschet, Alentejo, Portugal

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Alicante Bouschet can be a bit wily, and sometimes can feel almost "hollow" in the middle of the palate (after an onslaught of fruit and violets to start, and a big hit of power, grip and finish at the end). Portugal's Rocim always manages to tame this red wine beast, offering a ripe, fruity, and floral Alicante that is rich, textural, and complete - and all coming at a price that should tempt red wine lovers to buy an entire case.

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Monchiero Carbone Cecu d'la Biunda Roero Arneis, Piedmont, Italy

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Roero Arneis is too frequently overlooked by white wine lovers, which is a shame - because these northwestern Italian sippers offer a wonderful mix of the familiar and the exotic. In the case of the Monchiero Carbone Cecu d'la Biunda, the famailar comes by way of white peach, apple, and citrus flavors. The exotic? Hints of tropical fruits, saline, toasted nuts, and wet slate. This is a white that will offer a lot to contemplate, while also being simply delicious and refreshing.

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Cartuxa Evora Colheita Tinto, Alentejo, Portugal

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Most famous for their exclusive Pera Manca red, Cartuxa's other Alentejo wines are more accessible and a lot more affordable, and benefit from the same winemaking experience that produces their much more expensive cousin. The Cartuxa Evora Colheita Tinto is a juicy red blend that shows what this warm region of Portugal is all about — namely, fruitiness, spiciness, and power. Its tannins are noticeable but supple, making for an excellent red to sip on its own, or to pair with grilled steak.

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Vietti Cascinetta Moscato d'Asti, Italy

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Some wines are basically impossible to hate. Vietti Cascinetta's Moscato d'Asti is one of those wines. Equal parts accessible and elegant, this Moscato balances the line between subtle sweetness and refreshing acidity almost perfectly. Its grape, citrus, and tropical flavors are delicious, and its floral, perfumed nose manages to be explosive without being overbearing. This one's for Moscato lovers who are ready to take a step up above the norm.

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Dow's 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Aged for an average of twenty years in barrel, Dow's 20 Year Tawny Port is an upscale take on this venerable style of Portugal's famous dessert wine. Dow's typical drier style is evident throughout, bringing a sense of elegance to this wine's sweeter, caramel, dried fig, and rum flavors. Aromatically, it's complex, with toasted nut, dried fruit, and herb notes — the kind of wine that has you sniffing contemplatively over several minutes as it changes and becomes more nuanced after time in the glass. As far as Winter warmers, go, this one is tough to beat.

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Diora 'La Belle Fete' Rose of Pinot Noir, Monterey

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Translating roughly to "the beautiful party," Diora's 'La Belle Fete' Rose lives admirably up to its fanciful name. This rose is crafted from Pinot Noir in Monterey, and really shows off the balance and vivacity that this cooler region of California is capable of delivering. With notes of rose petals and cherry, flavors of wild red berries, and uplifting acidity, this is a rose that will refresh, delight, and please a wine-drinking crowd.

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Dow's Late Bottled Vintage Port, Portugal

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

If you're looking for a distinctive dessert wine experience that brings you close to the depth and complexity of vintage Port, but can't justify spending that category's lofty asking price, check out Dow's Late Bottled Vintage Port. Fashioned on the drier side (as is Dow's signature style), this is full of spice and caramel aromas, along with dried fig and blackberry notes. In the LBV tradition, it's accessible now, but it carries a nice bit of tannic structure for graceful bottle aging (a rarity in its relatively low price range).

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Laetitia Vineyard & Winery Estate Chardonnay, Arroyo Grande Valley

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

All-estate fruit from California in a wine that's regularly under $20/bottle? It's rare, but it does happen! Laetitia Vineyard & Winery's Estate Chardonnay from Arroyo Grande Valley is just such a bargain, and it's well worth seeking out if you're a lover of California Chardonnay. Walking a balanced line between rich, peachy creaminess and zesty, lemon-like vivacity, this white is long both in its baked-apple finish, and in the value it provides the discerning wine shopper.

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